As the music industry’s woes and general malaise — more than a bit of it, self-induced by decades of its own overstuffed arrogance and failure to genuinely diversify — continue, the outsider, anti-corporate spirit of DIY, not only lives on but, thrives in the form of some self-described musicians and singers, a good number of whom, for various reasons, likely wouldn’t have made it beyond the piles of demos in any label office.
Specifically, the indie spirit subsists via decidedly lo-fi, low tech and low budget (not exceeding more than a few chai boba lattes, which likely fueled the sessions) self-made music videos. For the most part, no more than web-camed, individual karaoke sessions shot in a bedroom, these recorded performances are broadcast by scores of un-shy singers with hi-speed connections and high-level social network savvy. This is MTV (when MTV actually played music videos) for a generation weaned on “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent” and for whom, there lies a tacit if not, actually verbalized dream to be discovered somewhere, somehow by someone a la their ‘scene’s’ Patron Saint, Arnel Pineda who famously parlayed YouTubed covers into a living-the- dream career as the new lead singer of Journey.
Most are barely listenable, far from emo-riffic — some even terrible — and how this all translates to live performances before real audiences still remains to be seen as well as heard but, a good number, have the pipes, the skills and most importantly, the tone and soul. This has also led to more than a few cool partnerships between video performers like the one below between Melissa Polinar, a Pinay singer/songwriter from Dallas and Jennifer Chung, a KA similar hyphenate from Irvine, who likely came to know each other online via their respective videos. Here they are dueting on Polinar’s original “Brave Face.”
Where this goes, where it all ultimate leads are questions not unlike those being bandied about in the indie film world but, for an embattled music industry unsure about its future, it makes all the sense in the world to simply, actually listen.